Are you planning to start your e-commerce store online?
But confused between Magento and Shopify.
In this post, I’m going to discuss in detail the difference between Magento and Shopify
- Is Shopify really easy to use?
- Is Magento self-hosted?
- Can I try the demo version of each platform before making a final choice?
- How quickly you can get your e-commerce store online?
- Which platform is better and for whom?
Let’s dive right in.
Magento vs Shopify
The main difference between Shopify and Magento lies in their e-commerce platform structure. Magento is an open source platform whereas Shopify is a self-hosted e-commerce platform. Shopify comes with dedicated customer support. Magento offers community-based support from Magento experts and developers.
In this article, we will compare Magento vs Shopify on the basis of:
Magento vs Shopify: Facts and Figures
Here is a quick comparison of Magento and Shopify on the basis of a few facts and figures. It is one of the most credible ways to compare these platforms as numbers don’t lie.
Shopify has a fair large number of users as compared to Magento but it has less number of plugins/Add-ons.
Choosing Between Shopify And Magento
Starting an online business is already a stressful task. Selecting a platform adds to that stress. You need to choose the one that is easy to use and doesn’t involve a whole new learning curve.
Between these two platforms, Magento is an open-source platform and Shopify is a proprietary commercial product.
They are completely opposite of each other when it comes to usage. Also, Magento uses PHP whereas Shopify uses Liquid as their coding language.
Shopify is a self-hosted e-commerce platform. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about hosting your store and managing your servers for optimum performance.
It is a great platform to sell your products online if you are new to e-commerce or own a small store.
Beginners will definitely find Shopify easy as you can build your store simply by drag and drop. If you are not a technical person and cannot afford to pay developer fees, then Shopify is the best solution for you.
- It is easy to build your store on Shopify without using a single line of code.
- A self-hosted platform so no need to manage your server.
- Your website loads fast and secure.
- 24*7 Customer Support.
- Easy to integrate your store with other e-commerce platforms.
- A large App Store to extend the functionality of your site.
- Choose from a wide range of mobile-ready storefront themes.
- It is not made for SEO optimization.
- Offers limited customizations and flexibility.
- A transaction fee is charged per sale.
- Integrating lots of apps can make your store more difficult to handle.
- Only 10 Shopify themes are free.
Magento is an open-source platform. You have to pay separately for Magento hosting. Therefore, you must be very careful while choosing the right type of hosting for your Magento store.
You need to have some technical knowledge if you want to develop your store on your own. You can also hire a Magento developer if you are not sure how to go about it.
If you are passionate about building your store on Magento, then you have to invest a little bit of your time understanding its features and possibilities.
- Magento is quite features rich.
- It is an open-source platform, hence you get extensive community support.
- It is available in the public domain and therefore free to use.
- Magento offers great for SEO features so that your store can rank better in search engines.
- You can purchase or download it in just 1-click.
- No design limitations. You can create your own design.
- You cannot just make a store on Magento without learning anything.
- Cost of hosting, extensions, and themes can make it a little expensive.
- You have to constantly optimize it for better speed and performance.
- As it is an open-source platform, virtually no support is available for it.
Magento Vs Shopify- Ease of Use
Are you also struggling to build and run your store online?
One of the main reasons behind this is the lack of technical knowledge and awareness.
Gone are the days, when you need technical skills to create and open an e-commerce store. With platforms like Shopify, you can set-up and run your online business in a few hours without any technical help.
But it has its own restrictions. Shopify is less flexible and offers limited customizations.
Whereas Magento offers a wide range of customizations and is very flexible. It does offer an extensive user guide for e-commerce development but you need to have knowledge of PHP for this.
Shopify offers a simple and user-friendly interface. Even if you have zero technical know-how, you would be able to work with it quite well.
- Drag and drop editor to build the design of your website easily.
- You can easily insert custom images into your themes.
- Simple ways to set up payment options.
- Easy customization to give your customers a more personalized theme.
You can do all this without knowing or writing any line of code.
For beginners, Magento can look a little scary at first. It does involve a learning curve as you will need to know certain terms to use this platform. For beginners and first-time users, there can be some stumbling blocks. But if you are serious about your business and want it to be scalable and ready for upcoming years, then Magento is the right fit for you.
- It facilities flexibility which is required to develop a fully integrated solution.
- Offers a wide range of customization so that you can build a store having a great User Interface.
- Provide you with an extensive user guide to get you started.
Magento Vs Shopify- Themes
Themes help you represent your uniqueness and your brand. They are a framework for your website. It is very important that the platform you choose offers a wide variety of themes. Otherwise, there will be a high chance that your website might end up looking monotonous.
Shopify offers a wide range of themes. You can get some for free but you will have to pay for most of them. Even for the price point, these might be a little costly for some people.
But once you have your theme, Shopify offers easy user interface and customization. More than 50% of consumers prefer to shop online.
Hence, your website must be mobile-friendly. Shopify offers mobile-optimized themes which will increase your sales on smart-phones.
- All the themes are mobile-optimized.
- Add or create new pages easily.
- You can change the colour palette and images according to your business.
- Over 100 Theme options which allow adding, moving, removing and resizing elements of your Shopify theme.
- Allows you to easily add social media feeds.
Magento has a huge list of the responsive theme, both free and paid. You will get great customization option even as a beginner in free themes. Also, if you decide the buy a theme, they are not very costly. But you need to code it to optimize it for mobile and other devices.
- Drag and Drop option in the theme manager.
- Offers more flexible Customization.
- Allows you to add animations to make your store engaging.
- Add a featured product slider to your homepage.
- You can incorporate newsletter options in your webpage footer.
- Place ‘cross-selling blocks’ on your product pages.
Magento Vs Shopify – Apps and Add-Ons
Themes just make up the look and feel of your website, you need your website to have functions. Both the platforms offer an app store and extensions. Most of these apps are just one click away and allows you to add multiple functionalities to your e-commerce site.
Shopify has a small collection of the add-on but they do come with an easy installation process. You can buy these add-ons from their official site, they will help make your website more powerful.
Shopify’s App Store offers more than 2500+ free and paid apps to add features, manage your store, and drive sales.
Some of the Shopify-specific apps require some coding snippets. One of the main things you have to keep in mind while purchasing these extensions is that they are billed monthly.
For example, if you buy a cart extension for 10$, the amount will be added to your monthly billing.
- You can display trust icons to your visitors and potential customers to decrease cart abandonment and boost sales. For example- Trust Hero by Booster Apps.
- Shopify offers the advantage of Integrating marketing email campaigns such as MailChimp account to contact your target audience.
- Connect to your potential leads and build your brand awareness by integrating your Shopify 10 social media feeds e.g. Add Facebook, Instagram, eBay, etc.
- You can add the plugin for order tracking so that your customer can check what is the status of their order.
- For example:- Trackr for $4/month. With this app customers automatically get notified about their order whereabouts.
- Keep a check on your store analytics using an extension like Analytics Buddy so that you know when your customer is dropping from the payment cycle.
Magento marketplace offers more than 5300+ variety of extensions. You don’t require any extensive coding knowledge to install and implement these extensions.
In fact, you can add a wide variety of complex functions to your store using Magento extensions and take it to another level.
- You can promote specific products of your sale by offering them custom discount options. For example:- Amasty Multiple Coupons.
- Send potential customers an email automatically whenever a new product is available using plugins like Product Pre-Order.
- Magento offers the advantage of Integrating marketing email campaigns and sending social feeds to promote your products. For example- Remarkety.
- You can also create advertising banners using Banner Slider.
Magento Vs Shopify- Hosting
It is to remember the fact that hosted and self-hosted platforms work differently. With self-hosted e-commerce store such as Shopify, you don’t get full control.
Sure it permits you to write in CSS and HTML, but for the core programming, you need to hire a developer or doesn’t get any access to the root directory.
But the advantage of it is that you don’t have to pay extra for hosting and launch your new store in a few hours.
You don’t have to worry about managing your servers and optimizing it for performance. Security and web page loading time all are taken care of by Shopify.
E-commerce hosting plays a crucial role in determining its performance, storage, speed, and security. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, chances are you will lose your customers and revenue.
In Magento, you have to pay separately for hosting and security. But the advantage is that you get full access to the server and root directory. Therefore, you can do core programming to make a personalised store.
Shopify takes care of the hosting as it is a hosted platform. You run your e-commerce site on their hosting, hence, you are free from all those nitty-gritty problems.
But you also cannot do anything other than contact their support team if you face site speed issues.
- Takes care of domain and hosting
- Allows you to concentrate on selling your products
- Provides 24*7 support
Magento has two hosting options: Open source and Cloud. In cloud hosting, your site is completely hosted and maintained by Magento.
Whereas, in Open Source, you have full control, and you have to buy your domain and hosting.
Also, you have the freedom to make customizations and work on your website the way you want.
- More Flexible
- Complete Freedom
Magento Vs Shopify- Payment Processor
A payment processor helps you in handling the payments via the third party using payment information from debit/credit card.
As both Magento and Shopify are e-commerce platforms, they both allow you to add payment processor.
In order to gain a customer’s trust and increase your sales, you must provide them with a secure and fast payment gateway.
It is crucial that the payment process is smooth and safe, otherwise, customers won’t complete the transaction or comeback again.
Shopify has its own payment processor that is very easy to use called Shopify Payments.
By using this payment processor you won’t be charged extra transaction fee as you would in case of PayPal etc.
But if you want to go for another payment gateway, then you have more than 100 options to choose from.
But in this case, you will be charged a transaction fee of ranging from 0.5%-2% on each sale. Shopify also offers the benefit of tracking your money in real-time so that you don’t miss any opportunity.
- Ease of payment
- Supports more than 100 external payment processors
- Allows you to track your money
The process of setting up a payment processor is completely different for Magento. The process is slightly long although easy. You will have to download the extension of the payment processor you want to add to your website.
You will find these extensions in Magento marketplace. Magento supports the many major payment gateways such as PayPal, AmazonPay and Stripe.
Magento has 364 payment integration apps in its marketplace.
The biggest advantage of Magento over Shopify is that it supports payment processors in different countries and languages.
This is great if you’re looking to sell overseas and connect with customers who speak languages other than English.
- Allows you to add major payment processors
- Supports multi-languages
- Covers International market
Magento Vs Shopify- SEO
You need a platform that allows you to optimize your e-commerce website SEO as this will affect your stores ranking. This is a point in Magento vs Shopify comparison in which both the platforms offer almost similar services.
Both these platforms offer functionalities that will help you gain a higher ranking on SERP. One of the main concern while doing SEO optimization for an e-commerce website is duplicate content and pages.
Since there are so many websites with so many products, your product description should be unique with relevant keywords. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use manufacturers’ product descriptions.
Google will view it as duplicate content and penalize your website. In fact, there are chances Google may not index your website in the first place.
Therefore, one of the key Magento SEO technique is to optimize product descriptions and image alt-tags for better search engine rankings. You can optimize the following things for Magento SEO:-
- Enable Search-friendly URLs in Magento 2 for the category and product pages.
- Optimize Product Descriptions and Images
- Use Canonical Tag to Solve Duplicate Content Problem
- Customer Reviews
- Write meta description and title
- Modify Robot.txt file
- Header Settings
- XML Sitemap Generation
- Lean Code
Following is the SEO-optimized structure you can use for the category and product pages:-
For Category page: mywebsite.com/category
For Sub-category page: mywebsite.com/category/sub-category/
For Product page: mywebsite.com/category-sub-category/product-name/
Asides from the URL, both Shopify and Magento are at par in case of SEO optimization.
You can easily edit your title, meta description and image alt tags from your admin panel. On Magento, you have to generate sitemap.xml, and on Shopify, it’s automatically generated.
Steps to enable an XML sitemap for your Magento store:-
- Go to Stores > Configuration
- On the left-hand side, go to Catalog section > XML Sitemap
You can get all the basic SEO options in Shopify. You can work on making your product pages SEO friendly. Also, on an advanced level, you can work on improving your site structure. But since Shopify is a hosted platform you cannot make any server-level configurations. Key Features:
- Allows you to edit meta tags and optimize inventory
- Offers SEO dedicated Add-ons
- Ease of editing the site structure
Being a self-hosted platform, Magento allows you to optimize store design and the SEO strategy for maximum output. It offers more tools and extensions which works well even for someone who doesn’t have much knowledge about SEO techniques. Key Features:
- Edit perma-links and meta tags
- Easy access to redirects, and canonical tags
- Allows you to change URLs
Magento Vs Shopify- Cost
Shopify is a hosted platform whereas Magento is self-hosted. Overall, there are many costs involve that are common on both platforms like buying domains and themes.
You may also find certain hidden costs along the way like Shopify charges 2.0% to 0.5% transaction fees for payments gateways.
All the hosting expenses are included in the monthly plan. You will have to bear a certain additional cost at first like buying a theme or buying some add-ons.
Shopify will provide you with a free domain name but it will look something like this: www.yoursite.myshopify.com. But if you want your own domain name you will have to buy it through a third party.
- 14 Days free trial
- Get 10-20% off with yearly subscriptions
- Free SSL
- Unlimited storage
Since Magento is a self-hosted platform, other than the domain name, you will also have to look for a hosting provider.
The cost of hosting will differ as to which type of hosting and plan you go for. You need to be very careful while choosing a hosting provider as the wrong choice can lead to speed and storage problems on your e-commerce website.
We do recommend going for Managed Magento Hosting providers.
- Cost specific to your need
- No hidden cost
- Allows you to host multiple stores
Magento Vs Shopify- Product Management
All differences aside, Shopify and Magento are e-commerce platforms and their first job is to provide you with a product/inventory management system. There is a significant difference between the two here.
Shopify allows you to add only 2 types of products i.e. simple and configurable products. It will work great only if you have standard catalogues and are trying to sell simple products. Key Features:
- Easy front-end management
- Best suited for small business
- Allows CSV import
Magento caters to medium to large size businesses. It allows you to add different variations and more complex products like configurable, bundled, downloadable and virtual products. Key Features:
- Easy product management
- Best suited for medium to large business
- Allows you to add more variety of products
Magento Vs Shopify- Support
For us, customer support is one of the most important aspects. If you get stuck somewhere or your site starts having a problem, you need someone to rely on.
Shopify comes with dedicated customer support. You can also get help through the documentation on their official site. Although if you are looking for extensive help and support it is also available through free and paid assistance. They will also offer you help with email, phone call or chat to solve your issues.
- 24*7 Support
- Extensive Knowledge centre
- Discussion forums
Magento offers community-based support from Magento experts and developers. You can also turn to Magento Forums and Magento partner agency. If you buy managed Magento hosting, you can also get 24*7 support from their team of experts.
- Forum available
- Both free and paid expert support
The size of your business will actually determine what kind of hosting you should go for.
Shopify is a more user-friendly platform and works best for beginners but, it also comes with a lot of restrictions and caters to only small business.
Magento, on the other hand, might have a little complex user interface but, it is best for businesses who are looking to grow in future.
If you decide to go with Magento, have a look at this guide that will help you choose the best hosting provider!